History of A Royal U
A Royal U Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization established by Briana Blandford to tackle the issue of young girls, between the ages of 10-16, feeling confident and empowered. The morning after winning the title of Miss Teen Tampa at the age of 16, she wanted to do something to help young girls in her community tackle the issues of bullying. As a survivor of bullying experienced during her middle school years, she knew she could really bring about a change in young girls within the community. The question was how and that is when the idea of the summer camp, Camp R.O.Y.A.L. (Real Outstanding Young Achieving Ladies) was born. Camp Royal was the first brain child of the entire Royal U movement.
One of the only organizations of its kind where activities and the curriculum are designed by teenage girls for younger girls. The methodologies employed to make this happen are unique and deliberate in the approach to develop a breed of young women, who feel inspired to make a difference. With its summer camp, Camp R.O.Y.A.L., girls participate in activities such as the following: Healthy Eating and Living, Bullying Prevention, Community Service, Interview, Self Defense, Social Media Awareness, Public Speaking, Photo Shoot with Hair and Make Up (age appropriate) and more. At the conclusion of the Camp, the young ladies celebrate what was learned in pageantry style during their annual showcase, A Royal Night. This is the premiere event where girls celebrate each other as sisters, while recognizing you being the best version of yourself is what makes you beautiful. While birthed in Tampa, the organization has girls come from as far away as Winter Park. A Royal Night is also the event when the girls must participate in their annual Community Service project. They are taught how to make a difference in their communities and stand out as leaders of change. They pick a local organization to give to and set out to make it part of their mission to ensure the organization needs are met. As the girls are inspired by other young women in the community, they recognize them at the showcase as hometown heroes.
Camp R.O.Y.A.L. is only one component of the organization. A Royal U is so much more than a summer camp. The Royal U program includes a leadership and mentoring program, where girls are educated on how they can embrace confidence and strive for leadership in their schools and community at large. Additionally, the young women are connected with women from the community and within their sisterhood. Often, the girls who are part of the program receive jobs thru their relationships built while attending one of the many events thru A Royal U. Workshops, trainings and other events are held during the year to keep the sisterhood going strong.
A Royal U is a family, embracing the principle of it takes a village to raise a child. While the organization continues to expand and grow, it doesn’t lose the sense of ensuring each girl and their family realize they are loved and matter.